Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance

Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance


Unleashing courageous leadership and collective power to realize a just and loving world.

Convening Call Archives


“Health Care – Policies & Legislation” – April 24, 2017

Watch the video of April’s convening call, which featured guest speaker Karen Wills. This call is dedicated to learning more about the way that the health care system itself works, and as a health care professional and a politically engaged person, she shared with us her expertise. We discussed many different facets of the current health care crisis and legislation–both at the state and national level. Karen suggested following TakeActionMN to stay close to the center of relevant progressive news and Andy Slavitt as well.

“Citizen Advocacy for People of Faith” – February 20, 2017 | Video

With featured guest speaker Rev. DeWayne Davis, we discussed many different facets of citizen advocacy, prime among them being the power analysis. Rev. Davis highlighted the MLK quote: “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.” We discussed the idea of empowerment instead of the concept of having “power over” someone else. We also discussed the many different ways that we can get involved legislatively in our state and local levels of politics, highlighting such organizations as Protect MN, ISAIAH, and Joint Religious Legislative Council.

“Nurturing Resiliency in a Hostile World” – January 16, 2017 | Video

We explored the idea of congregational asset-mapping so that we can locate those assets hiding in the nooks and crannies, map out the full network of our assets (both financial and otherwise), and find ways to leverage our assets and resources for justice to their fullest extent. We also navigated through asset-mapping some of MUUSJA’s assets and resources and helped to educate those gathered about ways that their congregations can lean on MUUSJA for support and training.

“How to Be a Sanctuary Congregation” – December 19, 2016 | Video

We explored what it would mean to be a Sanctuary Congregation. We were fortunate enough to have guest speakers Denise Konen, David Poundstone, and Katia Hansen, all speaking about different stages of the sanctuary process and some of the legal and technical challenges that many congregations face. Katia Hansen is the CEO of UU RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education), and she provided thorough answers to the many questions raised in the call. She is also willing to offer trainings at congregations. If your congregation (or a handful of interested congregations in your area) wants to host a training, feel free to contact her (katia@uurise.org).

“Healing Our Hearts, Post-Election” – November 21, 2016 | Video

Featuring special guest ministers, Rev. Laura Smidzik and Laura Thompson, we discussed some of the challenges that we have been facing—both individually and congregationally—since the election. We sought to find a place of healing for ourselves, safety for others who are more marginalized than ourselves, and the beginning seeds of activism/action in response to the fear and hatred that are still permeating the airwaves. Many resources were shared among us (see below), including a “Love Your Neighbor” lawn sign campaign that Laura Thompson has begun ($5 covers the cost). If you would like one, contact her at minister@mnvalleyuu.org.

“#NODAPL: Solidarity with Standing Rock” – October 17, 2016 | Video

We explored issues around the Dakota Access Pipeline. We spoke with Rev. Karen Van Fossan from the UU Church & Fellowship of Bismarck-Mandan, who has been on the ground in Standing Rock, struggling for justice, indigenous sovereignty, and access to clean water. We looked at the way in which many different native tribes have come together to form a strong coalition of voices opposing this pipeline and the problems that it represents.

“State of the State” – September 27, 2016 | Video

Features special guest presenter Jeff Narabrook, Voter Outreach Director for the Office of the MN Secretary of State. We reviewed some of the voting rights issues at play in MN, heard about why voter turnout is critical and what our congregations can do to promote registration and participation, and look ahead to the Restore the Vote struggle coming up in the legislative session.

Visit the MN Secretary of State’s website mnvotes.org for a trove of voting-related resources, such as outreach materials, online registration, information on early and absentee voting, sample ballots, registration verification, and a lot more.  Visit the Citizens League to learn about the internship program with Minnesota Capitol Pathways for students of color and Native American students.


“Putting it All Together” – May 2016 | Video

Focused on planning justice work for the upcoming church year. We also looked at some ways to evaluate your congregation’s justice work. Through a capacity building lens, we discussed how to set goals and create work plans for justice programming.

  • Presentation Slides – MUUSJA – 8th Convening Call – Putting it all Together.pdf

“Social Media & Justice Making” – April 19, 2016 | Video

We explored social media and other web technologies in order to grow your congregation’s impact. We highlight examples from congregations as well as justice movements. We also reviewed best-practices for some of the largest social media platforms and how to integrate these into programs you are already doing.

  • Presentation Slides – MUUSJA – 7th Convening Call – Social Media 4 Social Change.pdf

“Black Lives Matter & Unitarian Universalism” – March 15, 2016 | Video

Unitarian Universalists in Minnesota have been deeply involved in racial justice work for years, and have shown up in body and spirit as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the Twin Cities has emerged. When have we been successful companions in solidarity? When have we fallen short? What is the role of UUs in the metro area, and how can congregations in Greater Minnesota show up for racial justice where they are?  What can we learn from this growing movement about our faith, our identity, and our role in the struggle for racial justice?

This month’s call featured a conversation between MUUSJA Executive Director Rev. Ashley Horan and special guest Lena K. Gardner, Cofounding Organizer and Leader with Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis, about the history of BLM nationally and locally, as well as the ways in which Unitarian Universalists have played a role here in Minnesota, within our congregations and beyond.

Suggested Pre-Reading:

Historical and contemporary resources about Unitarian Universalism & anti-racism efforts, history of Black UUs and UUs of color:

Note: There are no video recordings of the following convening calls:

“Values in Action: Updates on Supporting Refugees” – February 11 , 2016

We will explore the current state of refugee support within UU communities as well as interfaith and secular nonprofits doing similar work.

“Connecting to National UU Justice Programs” – January 14 , 2016

Find out more about the justice work happening with the UUA, the UU Service Committee, the MidAmerica Region, and how to bring excellent programming and topics back to your congregations.

“Partners for Justice” – December 19 , 2015

How to connect your justice work or to connect to justice work being done in the surrounding community, with other religious orgs for interfaith projects, or to other UU communities.

“Naming Justice” – November 18, 2015

While many may know the answer to this question, sorting out the difference between service work and justice work as well as learning how to describe the difference to others can be helpful as we build our capacity for social justice programming.
UU communities.